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Connecting South Dakota: Wireless Technology
Sept. 18, 2007
W. Tom Simmons, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Midcontinent Communications
Midcontinent Communications is the leading provider of cable television services, as well as local and long distance telephone service, high-speed Internet access and cable advertising services for communities in North Dakota and South Dakota. Midcontinent serves more than 200,000 customers in over 200 communities. Tom is primarily involved in public policy, public relations, public affairs and government relations and is the general spokesperson for the company.
Tom often testifies on a variety of telecommunications issues and has appeared before U.S. Senate and House Committees as well as public utility commissions and legislative committees in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Over the past 20 years with Midcontinent, Tom has served as the vice president of commercial services; vice president and general manager of Midco Communications, Midcontinent's telephone division; and vice president and general manager of Midcontinent's South Dakota radio broadcasting division. Prior to joining Midcontinent, he managed radio stations in Washington, Idaho and Wisconsin. Tom holds degrees in psychology and worked as a counselor in the mid 1970s.
CONTACT: W. Tom Simmons, Midcontinent Communications, 3901 N. Louise Ave.,
Sioux Falls, SD 57107.
Nancy B. Clark, President – Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless
Since June 2004, Nancy has served as regional president for the Verizon Wireless territory that encompasses Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. She is responsible for sales and overall company operations within the region.
Nancy has extensive experience with Verizon Wireless and its legacy companies such as being responsible for the 15-state Midwest Area's six customer service centers including the center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., which supported Verizon Wireless' local number portability activity nationwide, and overseeing the area's distribution channel operations. She began her career with the former GTE with positions in finance, marketing and sales for the company's Texas and California markets.
Nancy earned her master's degree in business administration from the University of Houston. She also holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Michigan State University.
CONTACT: Nancy B. Clark, Verizon Wireless, Ste. 600, 505 N. Highway 169,
Plymouth, MN 55441.
Rae Ann Kelsch, Regional Manager – External Affairs, Upper Midwest Region, Alltel Communications
Alltel Communications is a customer-focused communications company with more than 10 million customers in 35 states. Rae Ann manages state government affairs in regulatory and legislative matters for South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming and Montana. Alltel Communications and Western Wireless Corporation merged Aug. 1, 2005. Rae Ann began her career with Western Wireless in 1993.
She currently serves in the North Dakota House of Representatives, having been first elected in 1990 and has been chairman of the House Education Committee since 1997. Rae Ann is a graduate of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
CONTACT: Rae Ann Kelsch, Alltel Communications, Ste. 107, 1110 College Drive,
Bismarck, ND 58501.
The Honorable Dusty Johnson, Chairman, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
Dusty was elected to the PUC in November 2004, becoming the youngest utilities commissioner in the nation. Dusty currently serves as chairman of the PUC, chairman of the South Dakota Rural Development Council and is a member of the NARUC Electricity Committee. Prior to joining the PUC, he served as the senior policy advisor to Gov. Mike Rounds for economic development, energy, corrections and transportation issues. He has also worked for local governments in the Kansas City area and as a Truman Fellow for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
Dusty, his wife, Jacquelyn, and their son, Max, make their home in Mitchell, S.D.
CONTACT: Commissioner Dusty Johnson, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission,
500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
The Honorable Gary Hanson, Vice Chairman, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
Gary was elected to the PUC in November 2002. He represents South Dakota on the Organization of MISO States and the executive committee of National Wind Coordinating Committee, the Coal Gasification Working Group of the Great Plains Institute and NARUC's Energy Resources and Environment Committee.
Gary is the fourth generation of his family to live and work in South Dakota. He was twice elected as utilities commissioner of Sioux Falls where he was responsible for the development and day-to-day activities of three municipal utilities.
Gary was also twice elected mayor of Sioux Falls. Prior to local service, he served three terms on the South Dakota Senate where he was chairman of the Government Audit and Operations Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee. He is a founder and past chairman of the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System and active in South Dakota water development.
CONTACT: Commissioner Gary Hanson, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission,
500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
David Atherton, Director, Minnehaha County Metro Communications
David has 36 years of experience in public safety, including 23 years in communications. He has managed communications centers in Boulder, Colo.; Yakima, Wash.; and Salt Lake City. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Colorado.
David has managed the acquisition and installation of records management and computer-aided dispatch systems, 9-1-1 systems, mobile data networks and conventional and trunked radio systems. He is an active member of the National Emergency Number Association, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Metro Communications provides 9-1-1 and dispatch services for all public safety agencies in Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux Falls including the portion of the city in Lincoln County.
CONTACT: David Atherton, Metro Communications, 500 N. Minnesota Ave.,
Sioux Falls, SD 57104.
Mike Knutson, Economic and Housing Director, Miner County Community Revitalization
Mike has served as the economic development/housing coordinator for Miner County Community Revitalization, headquartered in Howard, S.D., since July 2001. During that time, Miner County has played a key role in the developing wind energy and organic beef industries and has seen the creation of approximately 200 new jobs. In March 2005, MCCR's work was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
A graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., Mike has also served as a teacher and coach in the Tripp and Howard communities and has managed a tourism-related business in Beaufort, S.C.
CONTACT: Mike Knutson, MinerCounty Community Revitalization, PO Box 10,
Howard, SD 57349.
Otto Doll, Commissioner, South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications
Otto was appointed South Dakota's first chief information officer in July 1996 and is responsible for all state government computing, telecommunications and public broadcasting. As commissioner of the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, he oversees development of all state government information systems and networks. Otto has advised Fortune 1000, federal, state and local government CIOs on information technology assessment and alignment to business needs. He has served as a director with the United States General Services Administration, developing information technology strategic plans and oversight policy.
Otto received his computer science degree from Virginia Tech and is a senior executive fellow of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is a past president of NASCIO, a national organization of state CIOs.
CONTACT: Otto Doll, South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications,
700 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501.
Wanda Jundt, Executive Director, Eureka Community Development Company
Wanda has been involved in the Eureka Community Development Company since 1995 and currently serves as the organization's executive director. Her duties primarily focus on economic and community development issues.
Wanda is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and has previous experience in education.
CONTACT: Wanda Jundt, Eureka Community Development Company, PO Box 131,
Eureka, SD 57437.
Larry Thompson, CEO, Vantage Point Solutions
Larry's experience in the telecommunications industry spans more than 20 years. He has designed many voice, data and video networks, including state and regional networks. He is a registered professional engineer and holds a bachelor's degree in physics from William Jewell College as well as bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Kansas.
Larry has participated on U.S. Senate and FCC panels and various task forces for the National Exchange Carrier Association. He is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences.
Vantage Point Solutions is a telecommunications engineering and consulting company providing services including professional engineering, outside plant engineering, strategic planning, technology evaluations, network architecture design, regulatory expertise and feasibility studies. The company specializes in challenges faced by Independent Local Exchange Carriers.
CONTACT: Larry Thompson, Vantage Point Solutions, 1801 N. Main St., Mitchell, SD 57301.
Joel Brick, Technical Director, Sioux Valley Wireless
Joel is an electronics technology graduate of Lake Area Technical School in Watertown, S.D. During his 33 years of working in the utility and commercial telecommunications industry, he has gained experience with all types of radio, microwave and wireless systems.
He is presently the telecom director for Sioux Valley Energy in Colman, S.D., and serves as technical director for Sioux Valley Wireless, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sioux Valley Energy.
Joel holds an FCC general class radiotelephone license and is a certified communications technician. He has served as chair of the Region 5 Utilities Telecommunications Council and is currently the chair of the Wireless Communications Association International BRS Operators Group.
Joel is a frequent consultant to industry and FCC officials regarding telecommunications regulatory and technical issues and proceedings.
CONTACT: Joel Brick, SiouxValley Wireless, PO Box 20, Colman, SD 57017.
William P. Heaston, Director-Government Affairs, PrairieWave Communications
Bill is the director of government affairs for Knology Inc. and PrairieWave Communications Inc. His practice of law involves corporate governance, state and federal regulation, and lobbying industry issues before state and federal legislative and administrative bodies.
His professional experience includes 21 years in the U.S. Army's JAG Corps and positions as senior attorney for U S WEST (nka Qwest) for its operations principally in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming; general counsel for Dakota Telecommunications Group until its acquisition by McLeodUSA; and deputy general counsel for McLeodUSA. Bill remained with the operation until PrairieWave Communications acquired the former DTG operation from McLeodUSA, then became general counsel for PrairieWave.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Creighton University, a law degree from the Creighton University School of Law, and a master's of law degree from the New York University School of Law.
CONTACT: William P. Heaston, PrairieWave Communications, 5100 S. Broadband Lane,
Sioux Falls, SD 57108.
Grady Kraft, Finance Officer/Network Administrator, City of Timber Lake
A life-long resident of Timber Lake, S.D., Grady was named to the city council in 2004. He was appointed to oversee the Timber Lake Broadband Grant Project the following year. Grady became the city's finance officer in 2005, a position he continues to hold with the additional responsibility of serving as the network administrator for the Timber Lake Broadband Grant Project.
Grady and his wife, Bobbi Jo, have four children.
CONTACT: Grady Kraft, City of TimberLake, PO Box 431, Timber Lake, SD 57656.
Ryan Thompson, General Manager, Santel Communications Cooperative
Ryan has worked with telecommunication firms for the past 14 years and accepted his current position as general manager of Santel Communications in 2007. He has also served as the company's assistant general manager. Before coming to Santel, he was the marketing manager for Mitchell Telecom and prior to that spent 12 years with the Martin Group.
Ryan is a graduate of South Dakota State University where he earned a degree in business economics. He and his wife, Lisa, have four children and make their home in the Woonsocket area.
CONTACT: Ryan Thompson, Santel Communications, PO Box 67, Woonsocket, SD 57385.
Steve Willard, Managing Member, MNWireless
Steve is an owner and the business manager for MNWireless, a fixed-base wireless Internet company based in Pierre, S.D. MNW began operating in 2003 and is now serving more than 700 customers in central South Dakota.
CONTACT: Steve Willard, MNWireless, 106 W. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
Chris Doolittle, Market Manager, Redwood Wireless Broadband Internet
Chris is contributing to America's first iBurst® wireless technology deployment in Sioux Falls, S.D. He has also pioneered deployment of 1xRtt and 1xEVDO in varying markets and has been involved in the installation, operation and support of 1xRtt, EVDO, Alvarion 2.4, Waverider 900, Wave IP 5.8, and GSM GPRS.
Originally from the Fairmont, Minn., area, Chris and his wife, Sabrina, have two children and live in Sioux Falls.
Redwood Wireless Broadband Internet is a division of Redwood County Telephone, a century-old cooperative in Wabasso, Minn., and an early innovator in wireless infrastructure.
iBurst® (or HC-SDMA, High Capacity Spatial Division Multiple Access) is a highly-secured technology theoretically capable of wireless throughput in excess of 5 Mbit/s, and is a registered trademark of Arraycomm, Inc. It is being manufactured and globally marketed by Kyocera Corporation of Japan.
CONTACT: Chris Doolittle, Redwood Wireless, 2602 S. Louise Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57106.
Tony holds the commission's telecommunications portfolio and is a national leader in telecommunications policy. He serves as chairman of the Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He has testified on telecommunications policy before committees of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House.
Prior to his election he was labor commissioner, serving in the cabinet of former Gov. Ed Schafer. He is a former state legislator, representing north Fargo in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1994 to 1997.
Tony is a graduate of Fargo North High School and holds bachelor's degrees from North Dakota State University. He earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of North Dakota.
CONTACT: Commissioner Tony Clark, North Dakota Public Service Commission, Dept. 408, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND 58505-0480.
Richard Coit, Executive Director and General Counsel, South Dakota Telecommunications Association
Rich has been in his current position since 1993 and has been administrator of the South Dakota Association of Telephone Cooperatives since 2000. His primary responsibilities are representing SDTA membership before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, other state agencies, the state legislature and the FCC.
He began his work in telecommunications law in 1988, serving as an assistant attorney general with the PUC. For a number of years he has served on the Industry Committee for the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association and has also been very involved in addressing inter-carrier compensation reform and Universal Service reform, serving on NTCA subcommittees that address those issues.
A native of the Midwest, Rich is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in business. He earned his law degree from the University of South Dakota.
CONTACT: Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association, PO Box 57, Pierre, SD 57501.
Wendy Moser, Vice President of Public Policy, Qwest Corporation
As Qwest's vice president for public policy, Wendy is responsible for developing and implementing company strategy and advocacy for regulatory filings before the Federal Communications Commission and state public utilities commissions, supporting legislative initiatives, and all regulatory initiatives with federal, state and local governments.
She joined Qwest and its predecessor, U S WEST, in 1993. She held various legal positions with U S WEST, including responsibility for Colorado regulatory, all the in-region states' regulatory attorneys, lead counsel for the wholesale division, and associate general counsel of regulatory law. She has 20 years' experience in telecommunications law, with emphasis in local, state and federal regulatory law.
Wendy received her bachelor's degree in mathematics and political science, with a minor in computer science, from South Dakota State University. She received her law degree from the University of Denver, College of Law.
CONTACT: Wendy M. Moser, Qwest, Ste. 4700, 1801 California St., Denver, CO 80202.
Lisa Zaina, Vice President for State and Regulatory Affairs, CTIA-The Wireless Association®
Prior to her position at CTIA, Lisa served as executive director of the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance. Previously, she served as the chief executive officer of the Universal Service Administrative Company. She has been senior legal and wireline competition advisor to FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein and was vice president for industry and regulatory affairs and corporate secretary for Shenandoah Telecommunications in Edinburg, Va. She was also senior counsel and associate bureau chief and then deputy bureau chief for the FCC's former Common Carrier Bureau (now the Wireline Competition Bureau) and vice president and general counsel for the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies. She began her career as deputy assistant general counsel of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Lisa is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Wake Forest University School of Law.
CONTACT: Lisa Zaina, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Ste. 600, 1400 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036.
Steve Largent, President and Chief Executive Officer, CTIA-The Wireless Association®
Steve became president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association® in November 2003.
Prior to joining CTIA, he represented Oklahoma's First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994 to 2001. He was the vice chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee and also served on the Telecommunications Subcommittee, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.
Steve has also managed his own advertising and marketing consulting firm, where he worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies around the country. In addition, he served as Midwest Chapter executive director of the Wheelchair Foundation.
Steve was a record-setting wide receiver with the Seattle Seahawks for 14 years. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2006.
He received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Tulsa.
CONTACT: Steve Largent, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Ste. 600, 1400 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036.
Chris Moore, Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Tate
Chris most recently served as deputy director of the FCC's Office of Legislative Affairs. He previously worked as a senior attorney-advisor in the Wireline Competition Bureau, including serving a detail in the office of former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns.
Before joining the FCC, Chris served as special assistant to the administrator of the USDA Rural Utilities Service. In that role, he helped develop strategies and policies with respect to telecommunications, broadband and Internet issues in rural areas. Prior to that, Chris served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee. He was also a regulatory attorney for Sprint Corporation working on telecommunications and technology issues. Chris started his legal career as a counsel for the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
Chris received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law and his bachelor's degree from Transylvania University.
CONTACT: Chris Moore, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20554.
Sam Wilson, Associate State Director-Advocacy, AARP South Dakota
Sam is an associate state director for AARP, which has a membership of more than 100,000 members in South Dakota and more than 39 million members nationwide. The association's activities focus on informing members and the public on issues important to the 50+ age group, advocating on legislative, consumer and legal issues, promoting community service, and offering a wide range of special products and services to members.
A native of South Dakota, Sam holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii and master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Sioux Falls.
CONTACT: Sam Wilson, AARP South Dakota, Ste. 150, 5101 S. Nevada St., Sioux Falls, SD 57108.
Deb Gregg, Consumer Affairs Manager, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
Deb has been assisting consumers on behalf of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission for nearly four years. Half of that time has been spent in her current position where she manages a team responsible for handling consumer issues related to utilities and telecommunications. In addition, Deb coordinates the commission's presence at fairs and home shows throughout the state and makes numerous presentations to consumers about the PUC's functions and services.
Deb's previous experience includes positions with the South Dakota Bureau of Personnel and the South Dakota Department of Health. She is a graduate of Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D.
CONTACT: Deb Gregg, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
Mary Lohnes, Manager Regulatory Affairs, Midcontinent Communications
Mary started her telecommunications career working for Cellular One in Sioux Falls in customer service and in the negotiation of roaming agreements. She later managed their local retail agents.
In 1991, she began her career with Midcontinent Communications in sales support and long distance product service. After the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Mary was a member of the team that worked to launch Midcontinent's competitive local exchange services. In 2000, she was promoted to manager of regulatory affairs.
Mary holds a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior and management from the University of Sioux Falls.
CONTACT: Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications, 3901 N. Louise Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57107.
He is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, serving on the association's Committee on Telecommunications.
Steve has extensive experience in the telecommunications industry, having held positions with Northern Telecom (now Nortel Networks), AT&T, South Dakota Network (now SDN Communications), and Alliance Communications.
Prior to joining the commission, Steve served as a Brandon, S.D., city councilman for three years. He attended Northern State University and holds an associate degree in telecommunications from Mitchell Technical Institute. He is a native of Salem, S.D.
CONTACT: Commissioner Steve Kolbeck, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
Jayna Watson, City Planner, City of Spearfish
Jayna holds a bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University and brings 24 years of planning experience to her current position serving as the Spearfish, S.D., city planner. She is a registered landscape architect in the state of Arizona where she served in a variety of planning roles in the private and public sector before returning to South Dakota in 2004.
Her primary areas of expertise are writing zoning ordinances, architectural and site design, and managing the activities of citizen boards and commissions. In 2006, Jayna led a team of Spearfish citizens in drafting the town's first wireless communications facility ordinance.
CONTACT: Jayna Watson, City of Spearfish, 625 Fifth St., Spearfish, SD 57783.
Ralph Wyngarden, Senior Zoning Specialist, Faulk & Foster
Faulk & Foster has served the telecommunications industry since 1985 by providing site acquisition, zoning, leasing, construction schedule management, and telecommunications site marketing services. Headquartered in Monroe, La., the company has a North Regional Office in Grand Rapids, Mich., and field offices and agents nationwide.
Ralph has provided zoning and permitting services from Faulk & Foster's Grand Rapids office for the past five years including more than 100 sites in South Dakota for Western Wireless (Cellular One) and subsequently for Alltel. He has built working relationships with jurisdictions in every part of the state, both urban and rural and is familiar with the issues unique to each setting.
Ralph is a graduate of Calvin College and Valparaiso University School of Law and practiced law for five years prior to his involvement in the wireless telecommunications industry.
CONTACT: Ralph Wyngarden, Faulk & Foster, Ste. 202, 3040 Charlevoix Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
Mark E. Johnson, Commissioner, Yankton County
Mark is a long-time resident of Yankton County and was elected to serve on the county commission in 2004. He has been a land surveyor with Eisenbraun & Associates, Inc., a civil engineering and land surveying firm in Yankton, for 13 years. Prior to that, Mark worked with another civil engineering firm in Yankton.
Mark is a graduate of Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D.
CONTACT: Mark E. Johnson, 104 Curlies Ave., Yankton, SD 57078.
Mike Coghlan, National Sales Manager, Sabre Towers & Poles
Mike has been involved on the sales side of the tower industry for more than seven years. Formerly serving as the company's western region sales manager, he has extensive experience with Sabre's concealment product line.
Sabre Towers & Poles has been in the tower industry for more than 30 years and is a leading tower manufacturer in the United States. The company offers a full line of towers including concealment products capable of meeting strict zoning regulations. Sabre offers monopoles concealed as replica trees, flag poles and decorative light poles.
CONTACT: Mike Coghlan, SabreTowers & Poles, 2101 Murray St., Sioux City, IA 51102.
Jim Edman, Network Technologies Manager, South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications
The Network Technologies group for the South Dakota's Bureau of Information and Telecommunications serves South Dakota's public sector of state government, municipal government, higher education and K12 schools by providing computer networking services.
Jim has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of applications development, business technology and telecommunications. He is currently the president of the National Association of State Technology Directors.
CONTACT: Jim Edman, South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, 910 E. Sioux Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
Roger Musick, Chief Executive Officer, Innovative Solutions
Roger is a professional electrical engineer from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology with 36 years experience in the communications industry. He was one of the founders of the Martin Group. Roger has designed many communications systems and software systems for the telecom market.
He is the founder of Innovative Systems which provides enhanced services platform for the independent telephone market. Innovative Systems also has developed a totally integrated next generation Operational Support Systems for many communications companies and has recently announced a next generation IPTV middleware solution. In the near future, Innovative Systems will be releasing blended services that merge the telephone, Internet and the TV.
CONTACT: Roger Musick, Innovative Solutions, 1000 Innovative Drive, Mitchell, SD 57301.
Carl Povelites, Executive Director – Planning & Policy, Wireless Business, AT&T
Carl Povelites joined AT&T Mobility (f/k/a Cingular Wireless) as executive director of external affairs in December 2000. He currently leads a group of professionals responsible for the development of public policy initiatives for AT&T's wireless business at both the federal and state level in order to advance and facilitate AT&T Mobility's business initiatives on a wide range of issues, from spectrum policy to tower siting to handsfree driving.
Prior to joining Cingular, Carl was vice president of regulatory affairs for Evolution Networks. Carl began his telecommunications career as a pricing analyst for Contel Telephone Operations in 1986, joining GTE Wireless in 1990 where he became assistant vice president – government relations. He has also worked in the home health care and oil service industries.
He earned his bachelor's degree in economics and management and master's degree in business from New Mexico State University.
CONTACT: Carl Povelites, AT&T, 5565 Glenridge Connector, Atlanta, GA 30342.
Mark Shlanta, Chief Executive Officer, SDN Communications
Mark leads SDN Communications as its chief executive officer, a position he has held since 2000. He worked as SDN's network planning and operations director for two years before becoming CEO. Prior to joining SDN, Mark held various positions with Contel, GTE, Ameritech Cellular and Consolidated Communications. He is a South Dakota native with degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Missouri – Rolla.
Mark is vice chairman of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, chairman of the Education Telecommunications Board for South Dakota Public Broadcasting, and a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, Junior Achievement and Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Mark and his wife, Peg, have four boys.
CONTACT: Mark Shlanta, SDN Communications, 2900 W. 10th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57104.
Paul Bergmann, Chief Operating Officer, Long Lines LLC
Paul received his bachelor's degree in accounting and finance from Morningside College in 1986 then joined Long Lines' accounting department. In 1992, he became chief financial officer where he managed the general ledger, payroll, tax preparation, budgeting and financial forecasting, and treasury functions. Paul also supervised the telephone billing and reporting department, including NECA reporting, tariff filings, customer billings and carrier access billing. Paul has extensive knowledge in the regulatory and CLEC environment.
As chief operating officer, Paul is in charge of all phone, cable television, Internet and wireless operations for Long Lines. His duties include overbuilding communities, overseeing both CLEC and ILEC daily operations, and the continuing effort to provide high speed Internet, communications and video to all Long Lines customers. Most recently, he was instrumental in building a wireless network throughout northwest Iowa, southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska.
CONTACT: Paul Bergmann, Long Lines, 501 Fourth St., Sergeant Bluff, IA 51054.
James Groft, Chief Executive Officer, James Valley Telecommunications
James joined James Valley Telecommunications as the company's chief financial officer in 1999 before moving into his current position in 2004. He began his career in the utility industry.
A native of Ashton, S.D., James is a graduate of Northwestern High School in Mellette, S.D., where his wife, Nora, currently teaches English and coaches volleyball.
James earned a business degree from the University of South Dakota. He and Nora are the parents of four children, ages 9, 7, 5 and 3.
CONTACT: James Groft, James Valley Telecommunications, 235 E. First Ave., Groton, SD 57445.
Mark Benton, General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Midstate Communications
Mark is the general manager and chief executive officer of Midstate Communications headquartered in Kimball, S.D. He also serves as president of Airwave and SWS Wireless.
Mark holds an electronics engineering technology degree from Oklahoma State University. In addition to his telecommunications expertise, Mark is a state-registered EMT.
CONTACT: Mark Benton, Midstate Communications, 120 E. First, PO Box 48, Kimball, SD 57355.
Doug Eidahl, Vice President of Consulting, Vantage Point Solutions
Doug has been an active participant in the telecommunications industry since 1987. He provides management, financial and regulatory services for ILECs, CLECs, independent telecom organizations and regional and statewide transport networks. Doug's telecommunications experiences range from years of regulatory experience gained from his position as the former general counsel for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to practical management experience from his position as the CEO of James Valley Telecommunications (ILEC) and Northern Valley Communications (CLEC).
Doug received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice studies from the University of South Dakota, a master's degree in public administration from the University of South Dakota and a law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law.
CONTACT: Doug Eidahl, Vantage Point Solutions, 1801 N. Main St., Mitchell, SD 57301.